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Left or Right, make up your mind!

May 9, 2012
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The French have the reputation to love debates and to have the ability to fiercely defend their convictions for hours. The heydays of French influence in the world have been marked by glorious periods such as the Century of Light and the creation of the Encyclopedia. All aspects of the daily life are rythmed by talks and passionate discussions can be sparkled at any time, be it with family, colleagues or friends. The idea is not necessarily to convince the person in front of you that you’re right and s/he is wrong, the real source of pleasure lies in the verbal confrontation itself.

It is quite easy to witness this salient trait… Even if you don’t know a single word of French, you shouldn’t have any trouble understanding the general idea. It doesn’t take any linguistic skills; the body language speaks for itself.  The first option is to sit at the terrace of a café and eardrop. The second option will require some involvement on your side. While talking to Parisians, just ask this simple question: on which bank  of the Seine is it better to live in, the Left Bank or the Right Bank? Each one of them has its own history and characteristics, but each Parisian has a very clear opinion about them.

The ones in favour of the Left Bank will invariably talk about Montparnasse, Saint-Germain des Prés and its tremendous artistic atmosphere, the posh tranquility of the 7th arrondissement and the many peace havens such as the Luxembourg gardens… A general belief deeply enrooted in the Parisian minds holds that once you’ve settled on the Left Bank, you will never be able to move back to the Right Bank…

Advocates of the other Bank will reply that the Paris City Hall is on the right side of the city and so are all the trendy districts like Montmartre, Bastille or the Marais.

If you run out of arguments and don’t want to be left out of the debate, some rational facts may help you add fuel to the flames:

–       out of the 20 arrondissements composing Paris, 6 are on the Left Bank while 14 are on the Right Bank…

–       out of the 2.3 million inhabitants, 0.7 live on the Left Bank while 1.6 live on the Right Bank

–       the Eiffel Tower is on the Left Bank, while the Champs Elysees are on the Right Bank…

A trendy brand, Loft Design, recently capitalized on this Parisian pastime and launched a range of T-Shirts displaying your favorite side of the River Seine, making the confrontation more visbleat every street corner!

History itself won’t be of any help as Paris was created on the Ile de la Cité, in the middle of the River Seine, between both banks…

And if, by any chance, your interlocutors agree, just ask them then the best arrondissement to live in… The likelihood  to reach a new agreement will be  close to nil!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2012 5:40 pm

    You won’t change us 😉 But it is quite observed.

    • May 9, 2012 5:55 pm

      Thanks. So I guess you have a preference between the Left or the Right Bank!

      • May 9, 2012 7:16 pm

        I am an eternal lover of Paris. Both banks have their charms but the left one is maybe too “bourgeois”. And you, what is your preference ?

      • May 9, 2012 7:30 pm

        Well, I love both banks but I chose to live in Montmartre…you kinda have the answer to your question;-)

      • May 10, 2012 3:54 am

        Montmartre, my dream 🙂 I live in the suburbs, on the right bank. Colombes (92).

      • May 10, 2012 8:47 am

        You’re not very far from Saint-Lazare and Saint-Lazare is close to Montmartre;-)

      • May 10, 2012 9:36 am

        I know, I have been leaving in this part of the suburbs since my birth 🙂

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  1. HiP Paris Blog » Left Bank or Right Bank: Which Parisian Are You?
  2. Left Bank or Right Bank: Which Parisian Are You? |

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